Is Your Life So Divided Up You Can’t Succeed?

I often wonder why very talented and inspired people don't make time to use that talent and inspiration to do more with their lives, make new career inroads, etc.  In fandom and in the geekosphere I meet a seemingly endless stream of talented people, brilliant and imaginative, able to change the world.

One thing I came to realize as of late is that a lot of people don't apply themselves because their life is already divvied up into two competing sides with no room in between.

Many people in my experience, divide their lives into two things – the things they have to do, and the things they do to get away from the things they have to do.  If you've ever had a tough job, a stressful series of family issues, or just been very busy you have a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about.

There's have to do and there's escape/recreation/relaxation.

The problem is if you fall into this either-or view of life (and again, I've seen it happen a lot), then you immediately have no room for improving your life, applying your geekery, starting a new career, etc.

If you want to move your career to be more in line with your hobbies, and you consider it "must do" you immediately loose the joy in it and are reluctant to make the time to do it.

If you consider your career move to a more fannish profession to be part of fun, then you may not take it seriously, or may not take the time needed to do it when the "must-do" side of your life presses in.

Or simply you may not be able to even imagine a third "set" of things to do in your life – you may be trapped in the must-do/must-get away mentality and not be able to imagine something that doesn't fit into those two categories.

If you're having trouble getting things done, changing careers, making your pro focus more geeky, ask if you've fallen into this trap.  Investigate it.  Think about it.  You may be surprised at what you find.

As for dealing with the situation, I find awareness helps a lot.  Once you realize you've divided your life up you can start focusing on a whole life, not a divided one – and you can make clearer decisions when you don't have these divisions sitting in the back of your mind affecting you.

– Steven Savage